5 Best Affordable Cameras For Beginners And Professionals Alike

If you want to get into photography, you will need a camera. While you can easily shell out over $1500 just for the camera, that may not be your best option. As a beginner, you will want to get comfortable before spending that kind of money. We give you the best affordable beginner camera options here.

Starting a career, hobby or just filling the time by taking photographs can be a rewarding experience. As with anything else, though, we all have to start somewhere. Even if photography is your passion, you may not be able to jump right in and purchase the highest quality, top of the line model camera.


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Do you even know what kind of camera works best for you? Maybe you are a DSLR type of picture taker, or you may end up preferring a mirrorless camera. You surely don’t want to cough up a couple of thousand dollars only to find out you like the other type better.

This guide will showcase the best affordable camera for beginners. Cameras that won’t break the bank while you are just getting started. You will need a camera and equipment that will suit your needs while pushing you to learn more and expand your craft. That’s exactly what we will do here, today.


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Our rating system is a star system that is based on a lot of different aspects of the camera world. Cost is going to be a major factor in our determination, as beginners generally need to save money wherever possible.

We look at the cameras offered at the economy and entry-level range and compare them side by side, apple to apples. We look at features, lens selection, reliability, functionality, viewports, batteries if they are a part of a kit, and several other facets that many beginner photographers may not even think about.

Once we have taken our comparison notes on the specs of each camera, we turn them on and test them out. We take video with them, indoor and outdoor shots, landscapes, portraits and we test the zoom, display quality (if they have a display). We even test the tactile response of the buttons, touchscreen (again, if equipped) and we make a note of everything.

We then upload all of the photos and compare them side by side for brightness, contrast, clarity, and focus. Finally, we break the cameras down and rebuild them. (not completely, we tend to lose screws). We see how easy they are to transport, if the lenses need special treatment or if we can just toss it in our backpack and keep going down the trail.

After all, the information is gathered, and the testing is complete we give our results a star rating, based between one and five stars. The higher the rating, the better the camera. We also understand that these cameras won’t hold up well (usually) to the high-end professional grade cameras, so the rating is on a sliding scale.

While our top pick here may be the 100th pick when every possible camera is considered, we don’t think about that, because you don’t think about that. We only offer the best of the best for your consideration.

If you are a budding photographer and are looking for ideas or inspiration about the rig you want to start off with, this is the list for you. Let’s take a look at what our hours of research uncovered. Hopefully, your first professional camera is on this list.



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Without further ado, here is the list of our top 5 picks for the best affordable camera.


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The Sony Alpha series has garnered a lot of attention in the world of photography. The cameras were first dismissed as cheap beginner cameras that wouldn’t hold up under real use. That was quickly dissolved, and the cameras have continued to evolve and gain a devout following.

Using the Sony E-Lens system, the a5100 can now be used with over 100 lenses and extras. The mirrorless camera is lightweight for easy portability and transportation. You won’t want to go anywhere without it.

The Essentials Kit put together by Sony comes with everything a budding photographer could need. Batteries and chargers, memory cards, a tripod, lenses, straps, a carrying bag and even a copy of PaintShop Pro 9x.

The camera itself offers a high ISO range for great pictures in any lighting condition, autofocus with 179 focal points, full HD video and a 180 degree flip view screen for front facing picture taking.

Our rating: 4.8 of 5 stars


Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1 Megapixel Video Camera, 60X Zoom DC VARIO 20-1200mm Lens, F2.8-5.9 Aperture, Power O.I.S. Stabilization, Touch Enabled 3-Inch LCD, Wi-Fi, DC-FZ80K (Black)
  • Point and Shoot Long Zoom Camera: 18.1 megapixel MOS sensor plus 60X zooms DC Vario lens (20 1220 millimeter and Power...
  • High Resolution View Finder & LCD Display: High resolution 1,170K dot view finder and rear touch enabled 3 inch LCD...
  • 4K video Capture: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160) with three unique 4K ultra HD video pause and save 4K photo...

The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is compact. While not as small as the G80, the FZ80 offers a 4k resolution, even in burst mode. Record in full HD and have the ability to take the camera with you virtually anywhere.

The small size allows you to toss the camera in your bag and go. You won’t have the use of extra lenses or other add-ons, but with the small design and powerful 60x zoom, optically stabilized lens you won’t need much else.

This camera is both cost effective and easy to learn. You will have the basics down in no time, and you will enjoy learning. Once you have mastered the Lumix, you will be itching for more, though, and that alone is quite detrimental. Since you can’t upgrade, you will quickly find yourself looking for a newer model to tinker with and learn.

Our Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.


Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 is II Lens + 58mm Wide Angle Lens + 2X Telephoto Lens + Flash + 48GB SD Memory Card + UV Filter Kit + Tripod + Full Accessory Bundle
  • This Photo4Less Top Value Camera And Lens With USA Warranty and manufacturer's supplied Accessories Kit includes:
  • Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera body -18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 is II lens - 58mm high definition wide angle lens & 58mm 2x...
  • Transcend 32GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card - Transcend 16GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card - Photo4less DC59 Camera...

Canon enters the list with the EOS Rebel T6. The DSLR has been one of the top go-to cameras for beginners and intermediates alike. The easy to use camera system is capable of mounting dozens of different lenses and add-ons.

The camera offers an EFS wide angle, high definition 58mm lens and an ISO range of 12800 for better quality pictures in low light situations. The one downside is that the camera only uses nine autofocus points so you will need to learn to be quite accurate with your shots.

The kit includes more than most beginners need, but everything is essential, from the remote control to the wifi enabled, NFC scene intelligent auto mode. After a few attempts, you will be taking professional grade photos without much effort.

The Rebel T6 allows for video, filmed at 3FPS in ultra high definition and capabilities to extend the memory, flashes, and lenses. If you want to look professional while learning to be professional, the Rebel T6 is your camera.

Our rating: 4.7 of 5 stars


Nikon D3400 24.2MP DSLR Camera with Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens + 32GB High Speed Memory Card + Camera Carrying Bag + Tripod (Renewed)
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes...
  • Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera – A sleek and better built Nikon D3400 produces better image quality than your smartphone...
  • Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens - F-Mount Lens/DX Format - 27-82.5mm (35mm Equivalent) - Aperture Range:...

Nikon enters the fray with a 24.2mp monster. The D3400 is a DSLR beginner’s dream camera. Not only will it save money but the stills are incredible, and the autofocus virtually ensures a great shot every time. You can feel like a pro right out of the gate.

You will lose features like tilting view screen, touch-sensitive buttons and silent operation, the D3400 more than makes up for the shortcomings. Variable focal lenses can be added to the system at any time, and you will have the option to choose from over two dozen models.

The D3400 is by far the best camera Nikon has to offer, but the slimmed down DLSR is a great tool to learn on while building your armory full of lenses and add-ons for a future Nikon camera body upgrade.

Our Rating: 4.7 of 5 stars


Fujifilm X-A3 Mirrorless Camera XC16-50mm F3.5-5.6 II Lens Kit - Silver
  • 24.2 megapixel image sensor
  • Enhanced Autofocus settings
  • Five mechanisms for facilitating “self-portraits”: rear LCD, ergonomic grip, vertical command dial, Eye Detection...

The Fujifilm X-A3 almost made a list just on its design alone. Retro-chic with modern touches makes this eye-catching camera look like a blast from the past. While you will almost want to find the leather case that unsnaps in the front like the Fujifilm cameras of the early eras, the X-A3 offers wireless communications.

Use this to link with third-party apps from your smartphone or tablet. You can turn your phone into a remote to snap pictures from anywhere.

Using the Fujinon lens system, you will have access to over a hundred lenses, flashes, remotes, accessories, and add-ons. By itself, though, the camera is still formidable right out of the box. Offering a 24.2MP autofocus lens and a high ISO rating for all light and direct light photographs, you can still record video and review all images on the wide-angle view screen.

You won’t have the bulk of a DSLR, and the small stature of the X-A3 makes if comfortable to carry anywhere at any time. If you like the retro camera styles, take a look at the Fujifilm X-A3. With turn dial, top post adjustments, and audible click-button shutter release, it is sure to please.

Our rating: 4.5 of 5 stars



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Knowing what to look for in a camera will go a long way to helping make that final decision. Besides your budget, there are three major things you need to consider before choosing your first camera.

While the budget will be a major deciding factor, ensuring you get the performance and features you need will far outweigh the initial cost.


Professional grade cameras tend to come in three categories: DSLR, Mirrorless, and Compact.

You have to consider what you will be using the camera for. If you are looking for something you can turn on, snap a picture, and move on, a compact camera may be right for you. They don’t have a lot of lens options; most have a variable focal lens that isn’t removable.

The compact, all-inclusive design means you sacrifice upgrades in the future, but you gain portability, which means you may be more likely to carry it with your at all times.

If you want lightweight but still need lens options, then a mirror-less camera may be suited for your needs better than a DSLR. While the debate between which is better is far beyond the scope of this article (as well as one that will never be resolved) mirrorless cameras are easier to transport, take amazing photographs and are beginning to include more and more lenses.

If you want all the options, then a DSLR might be what you are after. They are bulky, heavy and require packing and transportation usually in their luggage. You will, however, have the option of literally hundreds of lenses and add-ons. The picture quality is as good, or better than a mirrorless camera, though a DSLR may be more difficult to grab and go.


Are you only taking pictures outside? Portraits? Still? Do you need video capabilities or do you like to take a lot of selfies? These are all things you need to consider and research if your desired camera can accommodate you.

If you like selfies, for example, you will need a camera with a pivoting view screen that you can flip around to face front. Video capabilities are important, but you need to also think about storage capacity. A video takes up more memory than stills. Make sure your camera can hold larger capacity memory cards.

Newer technology, like wireless communications, Bluetooth and near-field communications (NFC) will enable you to use smart devices, third-party apps, and cloud storage for your images, albums and videos.

Find out exactly what you need, and what you can live without, and you will end up with the best affordable camera for you.



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The final choice is always going to be your call. You will need a camera you want to use constantly, not one that sits in a bag at the foot of your bed being forgotten. It should meet all of your needs and still offer enough features and upgrades to push you to improve and want more.

Eventually, you will want to upgrade your camera, so having the ability to take your lenses with you is important. Find a suitable camera to start with (like one from this list) and then find out which higher-tired cameras use the same equipment.

Good luck, and happy snapping!

Adobe Lightroom vs. Photoshop: Side By Side Comparison

Lightroom and Photoshop are the two main photo editingproducts from Adobe, and both can produce very similar images. However, upon closer inspection, the two aim to serve completely different users. If you’re not sure which product to use, check out our guide on which of these two products may be better for you. 

Whether you’re venturing into photography, visual arts, or just need a way to spruce up your Instagram photos, image processing, and post-production software is an important tool to have in the Internet age.

While cameras on phones and in the consumer market continue to improve, there’s a growing need to ensure that those photos look the best they possibly can. This is where image processing and post-production comes into play.

As far as the tools available to perform these feats go, there are dozens available that will vary critically in price, value to the consumer, and intended user. However, two will almost always continue to be recommended above the rest—Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

Lightroom and Photoshop may both be Adobe products, but both are designed to tackle unique situations and won’t be the best for all types of image manipulators.

That’s why we’ve taken a close look at Adobe Lightroom vs. Photoshop and worked to come up with a comprehensive breakdown of what these two products accomplish, create, and make. We’ll also work to answer the pressing question: which is better?


IMAGE processor

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Before we get into which software is better, we need an intimate understanding of what these products provide for the end user.

Both Adobe Photoshop, as well as Adobe Lightroom, can be considered image processors and post-production suites. These are both fancy terms that let users know that they can hope to manipulate an image in a variety of different ways.

For example, let’s say you’ve taken some photos on your most recent vacation, but you want to focus on certain elements in your photos and make the colors pop. Using both pieces of software, you can crop your image, sharpen up elements, and increase the saturation tomake your image look larger than life.

Almost any image you see on Instagram, in magazines, or across the internet has had some image processing done do it. Which means someone has gone in after the production of the image to make it look better or outright change the elements in the pictures. Thisprocess is also called post-production.

So what does this all mean for you?

Generally speaking, if you’re working in the visual arts, you’ll need image processing. But that term is quite large, and not everyone is looking to do the same thing with photos. While you may want to make colors pop in your vacation photography, for example, that may not be all you wish to you.

You might want to edit the photo so that the mountains look closer, or you might want to erase other beachgoers so that your photo by the ocean looks more barren than it was. In some cases, you may want to create an image rather than manipulate it.

These processes can be very complex and require software equipped to handle all sorts of different tasks with imaging based on a variety of tools. The devil is in the details, and it is how

Lightroom and Photoshop handle these smaller tasks that will determine which one is right for you.



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Let’s take a closer look at AdobePhotoshop.

Adobe describes their Photoshop software as an imaging and design application. Photoshop presents creators with a large range of tools and settings that give total control over to them—but at a significant cost.

Photoshop has been the go-to resource for just about any image editing for decades, and if you’re more familiar with Photoshop than Lightroom, we wouldn’t be surprised. Photoshop offers many tools for animators and illustrators, but perhaps their biggest claim to fame is manipulation of pre-existing photos.

Photoshop’s major selling point is versatility. With presets, plug-in, mods, and a host of online resources, you can create just about anything that can be seen with this software. In fact, Photoshop can render images in three dimensions—giving creators the ability toplace objects in their pre-existing photos with true depth.

However, Photoshop’s biggest selling point is also its biggest flaw. Photoshop is notorious for a steep learning curve and relatively little mercy for smaller modifications. This often means consulting online resources and materials to uncover how to perform simpletasks like after a photo’s colors and saturation.

Still, you cannot take away the fact that Photoshop can accomplish what would usually require several different applications. By being a jack of all trades (and a master of quite a few as well), Adobe has created software that’s popular with industry professionalsand amateurs alike.



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Photoshop may be especially valuable as an all-in-one tool, but Adobe’s Lightroom offering shows that the company knows that certain individuals need ease of use more than they need superfluous features.

Adobe advertises Lightroom as a photo service and puts special attention on photography. Lightroom is highly focused on file organization as well—allowing photographers to organize their photos by date, subject, context, and even search for them with specially created algorithmic terms.

Lightroom gives photographers the tools to edit and adjust their photos as needed right in the interface. Users can adjust size, brightness, white balance, saturation, and more with the clickof a button and just as quickly undo the changes if need be.

Think of Lightroom as a separate file system for your photos. However, instead of clogging up your hard drive, Lightroom uploads your content to the Adobe Creative Cloud, which grants you access to your photos anywhere from here to the other end of the world.

While Lightroom’s color and photo processing features are just as powerful as Photoshop’s, you won’t find many other features that compare to the other software. If we compared Adobe Lightroom vs. Photoshop regarding features, the clear winner would have to bePhotoshop.

However, where Photoshop poses an all-in-one solution to photo problems, Lightroom is hyper-focused on pleasing one market far better than Photoshop ever could.


As you can see, both Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are both programs that accomplish similar feats. Both also have the distinction of having critical acclaim and high marks from industry professionals. However, we do need to determine which is the better program.

To answer this question, you’ll need to answer a few of your own. Consider the following when it comes to photo processing:

  • Do I need to manipulate pre-existingimages or create new ones?
  • How much time do I have to learn newsoftware?
  • Do I need these images organized?
  • Do I need 3D image processing?
  • How important is cloud-basedworkflow to me?

These questions will help lead you to the right side of the Adobe Lightroom vs. Photoshop debate.

If you’re an illustrator, animator, or image creator, we’d have to recommend Photoshop to you. It is the only one of the two products that allow for pure creation and assembly of other images to create something wholly unique.

Photoshop can accomplish just as much as Lightroom can as well as tackle unique situations that can solve just about any image problem. You’ll need to spend a great deal of time reading tutorials and becoming intimately familiar with the unintuitive interface, but there may not be better software on the market that can tackle what Photoshop can.

Are you a photographer, social media influencer, or hobbies looking to improve your photos? For you, we’d recommend skipping Photoshop altogether and going straight for Adobe Lightroom.

Lightroom is intuitive, easy to use, and provides a clear means through which you can organize the photos you’ve taken. While simple, Lightroom is powerful and can manipulate your images in hyper-specific ways to allow you to have just as much control over the finalproduct as Photoshop—if not more.

If we’d have to choose a victor between the two products, we’d be remiss if not to say that Adobe Photoshop is more capable of creation than Lightroom. However, most people will not need the extra features included with Photoshop and definitely won’t need to undergo the steep learning curve to use it.

We hope that our guide here has given you a good place to start with Adobe, the Creative Cloud Suite, and specifically which of their two major photo editing products best aligns with your personal needs.

No matter which product you choose, we hope that you take the time to learn the ropes and see why Adobe products are some of the best in the world for creators, influencers, and innovators. With the right tools, you can take your visual art to the next level.